Viva Hoover! The 1928 Good Will Tour
November 16, 2019 - August 23, 2020
Shortly after his election in 1928, Herbert Hoover, Lou and their son Allan, made a six week tour of Latin America. This trip stressed the theme of "the good neighbor." Hoover later explained the trip with these words, "As Secretary of Commerce (1921-1928) I had developed an increasing dissatisfaction with our policies toward Latin America. I was convinced that unless we displayed an entirely different attitude we should never dispel the suspicions and fears of the 'Colossus of the North' and win the respect of those nations..."
In November and December of 1928, president-elect Hoover traveled to ten nations in Central and South America, visited with leaders, and began articulating what would come to be called the Good Neighbor Policy. In seeking to make the U.S. a "Good Neighbor," Hoover's policies produced dividends during his administration and in the years that followed. Members of Hoover's party included seven internationally famed cameramen, twenty news correspondents, and several members from the Department of State.
The members of the Good Will tour began their trip on the USS Maryland. The Maryland carried the party south to Chile. Because of the danger of traveling around Cape Horn by ship the party boarded a train and traveled east across the continent. The ship, USS Utah, picked them up in Uruguay for their travels north along the coast. The Good Will tour ended late in December of 1928 when the USS Utah took them back to Virginia.
The Viva Hoover! exhibit tells the story of their visit to exotic destinations and displays some of the many interesting gifts and souvenirs the Hoovers brought back from their trip.
One of the most unique items on display is the Paracas Mantle that Hoover received as a gift from Peru while on the Good Will Tour. This mantle is over 2000 years old and was discovered at a burial site of the pre-Incan Paracas Culture of southern Peru. Funerary mantles were used by the people of Peru's southern coast to wrap their dead in multiple layers, together with offerings, to create a funerary bundle which was then laid to rest in large semi-subterranean pits in the desert of the Paracas peninsula.
Throughout the course of the display the Hoover Heads blog will be posting regularly about the Good Will tour.
Visitors can sit on deck chairs and watch a combination of home movies and newsreels from the time the Hoovers spent on the USS Maryland and the USS Utah.
President elect Herbert Hoover and wife Lou pose on deck of the USS Maryland while at sea. ca. November 1928
In addition to the twenty newspapermen who traveled with the Hoovers during their voyage, there were seven photographers who became good friends with Lou Henry Hoover. The men gifted Lou a camera for Christmas.
King Neptune and his court at the equator crossing ceremony on board the USS Maryland during the Good Will tour, November,1928.
Herbert and Lou Hoover on board the ARA Buenos Aires, en route to Montevideo, Uruguay.
President elect Herbert Hoover and Lou Hoover on the pier at Old Point Comfort, VA after leaving the USS Utah. January 1929.